February 04, 2005

Altruism at Davos?

Jay Nordlinger catches something important at Davos:

Kwasniewski gives a brief, quite eloquent speech, noting that he will not be addressing the Davos throng again not as Polish president.

He plumps for his neighbor to the east. One of his points: If we're going to admit Turkey [to the EU], we'd better admit Ukraine. Like Yushchenko, he urges Davosers to "discover" this country: "For most of us, it is unknown terra incognita. Let's discover Ukraine!" He calls for "international solidarity with a democratic Ukraine."

It occurs to me that I have never heard a head of state give a speech devoted entirely to the boosting of another country.

The significance of the matter, unfortunately, is lost on him. It isn't a moment of geopolitical altruism but of hard headed realism that prompts the president of Poland to devote his entire time in front of the movers and shakers of the world in praise of another country. All seam states, states on the fault line between Core and Gap, between competing civilizations, have very uncomfortable lives. Not only do they want to get on the right side of the line (based on whatever system you draw these lines) but they want to no longer be on the border. Poland praises Ukraine because it's in the club today and wants to stay in. retrenchment and loss of the most recently gained territory is a fact of life of power blocks throughout the ages. Poland simply doesn't want to be on the "most recently gained" list. It not only wants in the first world, it wants to be secure in that membership. Security is pulling somebody else behind you so they, and not you, are the sacrificial lamb, if a sacrifice is called for.

Posted by TMLutas at February 4, 2005 12:06 PM